Mom Raises Her Daughters to Be ‘Little Mommies’ & Boys to Be ‘Good Providers’

Rant 22

little girlI've always bristled at the notion of old-fashioned gender roles. It's just not something that my family focused on growing up. My grandfather loved to cook. My dad was a far superior cleaner than my mom. And all the women in my family had jobs and careers. I think seeing everyone contribute to all aspects of family life made me feel as though I was never relegated to a certain role or way of life. I could be and do anything I wanted to do with my life thanks to my family's example. So I was a bit disheartened when I read a recent comment from a mom who is intent on teaching her daughters to be "little mommies" and sons to be "good providers."

She wrote:

I'm raising my daughters to be good home makers, good moms, and good wives.

I'm raising the boys to be good providers, good dads, and good husbands.

That's how I think it should be and it saddens me every time I read or hear otherwise. My most important goal in life is to be a good wife and mom. I think there would be better people and less divorces in the world if everyone did as my family does.

Of course every parent has the right to raise their kid the way they see fit. And if it works for her family, great. However, what if one or two of her children don't want to be a wife, a mother, a husband, or a father. I have several friends -- both male and female -- who don't want to have children. And some don't even want to get married.

Her parenting philosophy seems to limit the potential of both boys and girls. What happens if we encourage our child's primary hope and dream to be having a spouse and children and that never comes to fruition? I think that is an especially scary situation for a girl. I see so many women link their self-esteem to having a man. To some, being single means they have failed and that's just not right. This is not to say we shouldn't teach our daughters how to maintain a home and be a good partner, but should that be the biggest priority in this day and age?

I for one would want my daughter to focus on being able to take care of herself. Yes, that means cooking and housework as needed. But I would hope that her dreams reach way beyond domesticity. And the same goes for my boys. I want him to create his own goals and dreams and not fill beholden to some antiquated notion of what society says he should be. In fact, I know a couple of former business execs who, after having children, decided to be stay-at-home dads. While that choice isn't traditional, it's still one that works for their families.

So I would caution this mom to widen her view of what a boy and girl are supposed to grow up to be. Regardless of your gender, you should be encouraged to be a nurturer, learn how to clean, and be a good provider. Why put limits on what your child should ultimately grow up to be?

Do you think we should just teach our girls to be good homemakers and our boys to be good providers?

Image via naydeeyah/Flickr

girls, boys, family


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LostS... LostSoul88

well she should be teaching what she teachers her girls the same to her boys and vis versa. Nothing wrong with what she is teaching them.

PonyC... PonyChaser

I grew up in the '80's, the era of "I can bring home the bacon, fry it up in a pan, and never never let you forget you're a man" (bonus points to those who can name the product that jingle refers to). And I can tell you that many of my female counterparts ended up miserable and lost because they were filled with "you can be whatever you want!" and the load of crap that "you can have everything". The truth is, nobody can have everything at the same time. There are, and will be, sacrifices to be made, whatever choice you make in life.

So raising your child to be anything is doing a disservice to him or her. Yes, they should ALL be raised to know how to work. They should ALL know how to cook, do laundry, and not see any job as "a man's job" or "woman's work".

But raising them to be good partners? What's wrong with that? At some point in every person's life, they are going to have an intimate relationship - and if they don't, they are not living a full life. That doesn't mean they're going to be married, but they will have to know how to relate to others, to give and take, and to be a partner.

And I just have to ask you, Ms. Souter, if that mom had said, "I'm raising my child without gender of any kind, we call him/her "Cloud" because we don't want to impose gender "limitations" on her/him", how would you feel? Would that make everything better? Because THAT kind of thinking wouldn't cause ANY kinds of problems at ALL, would it?

handy... handy0318

I understand the fact that this seems not only anachronistic but just plain wrong.  Having said that, I know of many families...many of them in my own extended family, in which the mom is the maker of the home and the dad is the provider... and they are very happy. The marriages have lasted. The children very well adjusted, not having a number of social problems or "issues", some having already grown up and are in their own, happy, healthy marriages... 

I'm not...NOT, I TELL YOU FOR ALL WHO ARE ABOUT TO FREAK AT WHAT I JUST SAID, NOT, I'm not saying that raising children without gender roles causes broken homes and social problems and issues...

I am saying that for many families that look at home life in this "old fashioned" way are very happy.

So I guess this winds up to be just another area in which we shouldn't judge other people about. If this is the way a husband and wife decide is right for their family...then so be it. That was the only thing that bothered me about the original post that this blog was based on...the op's sort of judgmental attitude about those who think differently than her.

PonyC... PonyChaser

I got off track partway though that last rant: Raising your child to be "anything" is doing a disservice to him or her. Raising them to have a realistic view on life, that, chances are, she is going to be a wife/mother, and he is going to be a husband/father, is a logical way to go. It is what the majority of people will become. Does it mean they're not "whole" if they're not? No. But will it prepare them to be nurturing to friends and family, children and coworkers? Yes. Will it make them a better person to know how to perform in traditional roles? Probably. Will it harm them? No.

Don't be so touchy. Her kids are going to be fine.

lulou lulou

Im not so sure her kids will be fine. Considering the mom must spend a lot of time being so saddened, that mope probably isnt much fun to grow up around. 


nonmember avatar MammaMel

ALL children should be raised to be a good parent and spouse, maybe we would have a lower divorce rate and lower incident of child abuse. If they don't want to be, then it's a good thing that it's not the ONLY thing they were taught. Who pissed in your ceral this morning?

nonmember avatar April

I'm raising both my kids (a boy and a girl) to know how to cook and clean. I am raising both of them to be good people and to be good partners. I'm trying to teach them the art of choosing your battles and when to let things go. To compromise. I am teaching them that if you work hard in school, get good grades, and then continue to work hard,you CAN be what you want to be, whether that's a parent and spouse or a doctor or vet or whatever.But it doesn't fall into your lap just because you want it to happen. You have to work for your dreams, and they may not always happen right away. Or in the way you expected them to. But that's ok, because I am trying to get them to learn how to be adaptable too.

mande... manderspanders

Pony Chaser, I wish you wrote articles for the Stir.  You truly are consistently the one person around here who has COMMON SENSE, compassion, and the ability to see beyond the black and white. 

I think the mother in this article is doing right by her kids... being a good mother/wife or a good husband/provider... well, define that.  It doesn't ALWAYS mean that the woman is a homemaker popping out kids and that the man makes all the money all the time.  I'd say by definition it is being able to take care of your family in whatever manner that circumstances dictate...there is an inherent ebb and flow in a family and in a relationship. Being able to pick up the slack, be compassionate, and be a partner ABSOLUTELY  are values kids should learn that they are not (because everything today revolves around the "individual").   I'm having a boy... we will teach him to be a good husband, provider, and father; but I will also make sure he can be self-sufficient without a woman as well. My only hope is that he doesn't grow up to married to a girl raised by the likes of Ericka, Kiri, and the other liberal elitist women who write here. Because he will be miserable.

B1Bomber B1Bomber

"But I would hope that her dreams reach way beyond domesticity."

Here is the problem with feminism: when a woman chooses to be a wife and mother and focus all her energy there, she is somehow missing something. She should dream "bigger" than that, as if there is anything more important in life than raising the next generation. Not every woman wishes to be a spouse and a mother, but those who do are not less than the ones who become teachers or doctors or CEOs.

(I'm a SAHM, former hs teacher, working on my master's in library science.)

bandg... bandgeek521

I commented on that post. I don't agree with that way of thought. I want to raise my child/ren to be responsible, to be dependable, loving, and so forth. If I have a daughter I don't want her to feel like she has to have someone else take care of her, and I want my son to be the kind of man who encourages his spouse's dreams and ambitions, who makes a home together, built on their mutual goals and hopes. I expect him to be the kind of man who helps around the house and not the kind who expects the woman to do all the housework and pick up after him like a child. I'm allowing him to love Tinkerbell, cooking, dancing, and "girly" things because I don't want him to see girls as less than himself or to feel as though is identity as a male (or that of others) depends on his seeing "girly" as "wrong" and only choosing/enjoying "boyish" things. I think being a good spouse comes down to being a good person: being reliable, trustworthy, respectful, responsible, and putting value on the relationship and commitment you make, not necessarily on gender roles and the like. A father can be nurturing and help cook and clean, and a mother can be a bread winner. It's not about who fills what roles, but that each couple finds a way to combine their strengths.

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